Monday, March 8
The day NPR called
About six months ago, I submitted a condensed version of an essay I wrote for my creative writing class to 88.5 WFDD, our local NPR station. A couple of weeks later, I was contacted by the station and told they would love to run the essay. And then I didn't hear anything again; they were working on a huge Story Corps project, and I figured I'd slipped through the cracks. "Ah, well," I thought. "I gave it a shot."
On Wednesday morning, I got a call from WFDD's senior producer, Kathryn Mobley. She wanted me to come in and record my essay with her that afternoon.
I've always performed well under pressure. Actually, check that. I've always performed well under pressure when I can either 1) deny that something important is about to happen until the last possible second, or 2) have that important thing sprung on me with little to no warning. The fundamental point is, I do well under pressure when I don't have time to think the scenario out to what is always my inevitable conclusion: failure and disgrace.
Kathryn, and I'm speaking objectively here, is either a genius or a member of the Heavenly Host trained in guerrilla warfare, because her offer fell into the perfect window for me to manage the situation well. I had three hours, just enough time to get ready (without obsessing about what I was going to wear to be on the radio), arrange for a babysitter, run through my notes a few times, and drive over.
The only potential snag would be the drive.
Three problems: First, when I'm going somewhere new by myself, the anxiety of finding the place always freaks me out (busted internal geolocator). This malfunction is so severe, I inevitably take a wrong turn even if the new place is a store I haven't been to inside the very mall that I have been in a thousand times. (I've learned to aim for the food court and troubleshoot from there.) Second, I didn't have a mix of appropriate music available; I find Moby and Coldplay to have excellent selections for simultaneously pumping me up while calming me down. And finally, the last time I had to publicly discuss something I wrote, I puked in the car on my way there.
Forty-five minutes before my 1 o'clock appointment, I climbed the rope ladder I use to get into our enormous truck, successfully backed out of our driveway, and pointed myself toward the Wake Forest campus from which WFDD emanates its public radio goodness. I was on my way.
Will Erin arrive without vomiting, mowing down pedestrians, or detouring through West Virginia? Find out on the next Fierce Beagle.